Using light and chlorophyll to destroy tumors

May 2, 2012

A team of Weizmann Institute of Science researchers is developing an innovative photodynamic approach to destroying tumors. The technique, developed by Prof. Avigdor Scherz of the Department of Plant Sciences and Prof. Yoram Salomon of the Department of Biological Regulation, is based on a non-toxic chemotherapy drug—a water-soluble derivative of the green plant pigment chlorophyll—that is injected into the blood stream or directly into the tumor.

When the drug is illuminated by light in a controlled fashion in the tumor it becomes toxic, destroying tumor blood vessels and cells while having a minimal effect on healthy tissue.

This new, "green" photodynamic material was found to be efficient in curing melanoma with a success rate of 85 percent. It clears from the body faster than the materials used in standard photodynamic therapy, which tend to leave patients with a heightened sensitivity to strong light. This technique is being developed for future therapeutic applications through Yeda.

Explore further: Team develops tumor destruction method that also creates immunity

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New role for an old protein: Cancer causer

September 3, 2015

A protein known to play a role in transporting the molecular contents of normal cells into and out of various intracellular compartments can also turn such cells cancerous by stimulating a key growth-control pathway.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.